From the monthly archives: "July 2006"

Can you help ID this bug please?
Hi! Love your site with all of the information and pictures! Hope you can help us! We found this large caterpillar in our mid-Michigan driveway on July 27, 2006. It was 3-4 inches long with pinkish body and a green head. It had short, fairly sparse hairs on its upper body. The closest guess I could make was a Luna Moth because of the size and the green head, but all of the pictures I’ve seen of Luna Moth caterpillars show them being a definite green color. We’d like to know more about this caterpillar – what it turns into, what it eats, etc. My daughter would love to raise something like this in her bug house, but I didn’t want her to keep this one as we didn’t know much about it. Thanks so much for any help.

Hi Dottie,
We are nearly certain, based on an image found on BugGuide, that this is a Luna Moth Caterpillar. Its size, pink coloration (they are normally green) and presence away from the food plant, all suggest it is ready to pupate. It will spin a silken cocoon incorporating a leaf and then remain until the beautiful green moth emerges.

Big, scary bug…
Dear Bug Man:
Could you please tell me what kind of beetle or bug this is? I live in Lancaster County, PA. Oh, and I named him "Harry", hehe. ‘Harry’ is an active bugger. When I found him he was marching across my kitchen floor on a serious mission. Ever since I put him in this plastic container, he’s been trying to find a way out. He doesn’t seem aggressive though. The big pincher things look intimidating, but when I put a pencil in front of him, he just stayed still for a while and didn’t move. Also, my kittie, Cleo, wants to play with him so badly that she keeps batting at the container. Of course I’m still not sure what Harry could do with those pinchers. She probably wouldn’t want to play with him after finding out.

Hi Amanda,
This is a Ground Beetle in the genus Scarites.

photo of Spotted Apatelodes Moth
Thought you might like this photo of the Spotted Apatelodes Moth that i snapped here in Virginia. Your site helped me to identify it. Thought you might like the photo, it’s much clearer for identifying than the one pictured. Thanks again! Love the site!
Indian Valley, VA

Hi Tree,
Thanks for sending your photo our way.

who is this guy?
My son and I saw this guy on our roof, during my semiannual fix-the-TV-antenna party. Any idea what he is?

Hi Thomas,
We hope you don’t consume spirits while on the roof as we would hate to have you take a tumble. This is a Painted Lichen Moth, Hypoprepia fucosa, and it represents a new species for our site.

what is this bug?
I was weeding my garden today and came across this huge guy! What is it and is it a moth or a butterfly? My kids are so curious! Thank you 🙂
Kelly Dean

Hi Kelly,
Just today, we received the following letter that set us straight. Seems we haven’t really distinguished between two larvae, both commonly found on tomato plants, that Grandma always called “Tomato Bugs.” Your caterpillar is a Tobacco Hornworm.

the difference between Tobacco Hornworms and Tomato Hornworms
(07/28/2006)Tobacco and Tomato Hornworms
You have Manduca sexta and Manduca quinquemaculata both identified as tomato hornworms. I think sexta is the tobacco hornworm; it has seven stripes that are diagonal when viewed from the side, and the “horn” is usually red. Quinquemaculata, the tomato hornworm, has eight markings which, when viewed from the side, look like chevrons pointing towards the head, and the horn is usually black. The pictures on your site are of the tobacco hornworm, which seems to be far more common in gardens; people often ID them as the tomato hornworm because they are eating their tomato plants. The adult tomato hornworm is the 5-spotted hawk moth and the adult tobacco hornworm is the Carolina sphinx moth. I have a tobacco hornworm the size of my thumb in a jar, and its poops are big as rabbits’.

Deadly Nightshade
(08/02/2006) Hi bugman,
I am a professional horticulturist and love your wonderful website! I wanted to let Kelly Dean know that the plant her tobacco hornworm is on in the picture is clearly a deadly nightshade. This beautiful vining plant in the tobacco/tomato family has pretty purple flowers and bright red berries which appeal to children. It is a very poisonous plant! Especially since she has kids in the garden, I would recommend she move the hornworm to a tomato or pepper plant for her kids to study, and get rid of that deadly nightshade. Better safe than sorry! Thanks,
Jenn McCracken
Bucks County, PA